When I was in college, I worked a summer job in Panama City Beach, Florida, where I attended a church for about ten weeks. The church had a dinner on the grounds one Sunday after church to which I was invited. Everyone was expected to bring food for this picnic lunch. Well, I lived with four other guys, and the food in our apartment was sparse. I packed the same lunch I took for work every day, a bologna sandwich with mayonnaise and mustard, just bread and meat, no lettuce or tomato. Typical bachelor fare placed in a brown paper bag. I didn’t remember to bring a drink.
After church I grabbed my brown paper bag, which looked right pitiful, and began to wonder aimlessly for a place to sit down. A wonderful lady who was full of hospitality and had a whole passel of kids invited me to sit with their family. I was grateful to be rescued from my wandering in the desert, so I gladly sat down with their large family.
They had a huge spread of food set out on a red-and-white-checkered tablecloth on the grass. There was fried chicken, sliced ham, cole slaw, deviled eggs, biscuits, chocolate cake and brownies plus plenty of sweet tea. I was pretty sure I had died and gone to heaven.
Then one of the daughters asked, “Robert, what did you bring for lunch?”
All eyes turned toward me. I sheepishly reached behind my back and retrieved my brown paper bag and produced my bologna sandwich. Before anyone could gasp or throw up, the mom scooped up my sandwich, sliced it into four wedges, and set it in the middle of the table on a napkin like it was a delicacy. Everybody smiled and I sighed with relief as the father prayed a blessing over that sumptuous meal. Man, was that food good – way better than that bologna sandwich I brought to eat.
Now, pay attention. The Heavenly Father has invited you and me to His banquet table, and His banner over us is love, (Song of Solomon 2:4). I may be reluctant to show up because I lack the proper clothing or the proper dish to contribute to the meal. I mean – He is the King of the universe. How do we dress for a banquet thrown by the Lord of the heavens and the earth “whose eyes are too pure to look upon iniquity,” (Habakkuk 1:13)? Surely, He would see through anything I wear and see my sinful heart? What will I do then? What will I do? What will I do?
What could I possibly bring to His banquet that would please Him? He owns the heavens and the earth. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. What kind of gift would please a King like that? A King who has everything?
Just like this mom who saw me wandering and lost with nothing to give of any value to their
Sunday dinner, Jesus spied you and me wandering, lost, without God and without hope in this world. He invited us to His banquet table knowing we had nothing of any value to offer. No clothes to wear? No problem. He gave us the snow- white robe of the righteousness of Jesus Christ that qualifies us to sit at His banquet table. Nothing to give? A cup of thanksgiving is all He asks.
“For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast,” (I Corinthians 5:7b – 8a).